Our Bodies Our Voice: A case study on utilization of governance streams to change the policy for prevention of sexual violence in universities and the role of grassroots organizations

  • Claudia Dictus
  • Elena Syurina
Keywords: sexual violence, university, mental health


Sexual violence (SV) is an issue of global importance, with significant prevalence in the EU generally and the Netherlands in particular. Stigma and taboo often result in underreporting and exacerbate the already substantial mental health consequences of SV. Universities are recognized as high-risk settings, but in general awareness, response and prevention in Dutch universities have been limited. This article analyzes a case study of key events over a number of years resulting in policy change and active response in one university in the Netherlands, focusing on the impact and role of the Our Bodies Our Voice foundation, which started as a grassroots student initiative, using the Kingdon model of policy change. The aim is to make explicit how governance streams need to be aligned to place the issue of SV on the agenda of higher educational institutions, and findings highlight the importance of media coverage, advocacy, awareness raising and perseverance on the part of initiatives like OBOV, while building towards a policy window.


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How to Cite
Dictus, C., & Syurina, E. (2019). Our Bodies Our Voice: A case study on utilization of governance streams to change the policy for prevention of sexual violence in universities and the role of grassroots organizations. Mental Health: Global Challenges Journal, 2(2). https://doi.org/10.32437/mhgcj.v1i2.58